Ernest Njuguna took a different path from what his parents wished. However, calligraphy has put him on local and international platform
Faith Gachobe @wangechiagachobe
It is every parent’s dream to see their child succeed. However, this desire may more often than not get in the way of children’s dreams and passion.
Such is the case of 23-year-old Ernest Njoroge Njuguna who is pursuing a rather rare path of being a calligraphy artist. Initially, it was never Ernest’s dream to pursue a Bachelors of Commerce degree, but it was what he had to do after his dad insisted that he pursue a mathematics-related course since he was good at the subject.
“My passion was, and still is in art and design, specifically the art of writing in calligraphy,” Ernest reveals. The fourth year Kenyatta University student first started practicing calligraphy in 2010, when he was in Form Three.
This was the first time he came across a topic Calligraphy and Lettering, which was just the basics of calligraphy—decorative handwriting or handwritten lettering.
After the class was over, their teacher picked three of the best students and made them the school’s calligraphers. “I passionately wanted to join the team and as a result, I spared every last 30 minutes of the preps time to practise. Amazingly, within less than two months’ time, I had become the best calligrapher in the school,” he says.
He was letter assigned as head of the department, which meant he could easily access calligraphy material. In 2014 when he was in second year, Ernest decided to do something that was aligned in his passion.
He posted his first calligraphy ad on OLX and after close to six months, he got his first client and a big one for that matter; KCB main branch along Moi Avenue.
This served as a wake-up call and he realised he was more satisfied doing art than anything else. After attending Mater Heart Run the same year, Ernest realised that he needed to come up with an official brand as his network was rapidly growing. Prince Calligraphy was born. He created a page on Facebook and Twitter.
Several people saw, liked his work and called him to do calligraphy for their organisations. Among them was the Human Resource Manager at the Communications Authority of Kenya.
Njuguna later did calligraphy for The National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND) who were so impressed that they invited him to their Gala night where he was able to interact with various directors and managers of organisations.
In 2014 his calligraphy was nominated as the only African Calligrapher in the Calligraphy Masters; an online competition. Due to the recognition by international calligraphers, Ernest was able to create a forum where some of the best calligraphers from around the globe would interact and share ideas.
“We called it Global Calligraphers and at the moment, I am the head of the group that consists of calligraphy artists from Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Turkey, India, Lebanon, USA, Poland and Kenya,” a proud Ernest reveals.
Ernest has also got Sachin Sahin an Indonesian who is one of the best calligraphers in the world as his mentors, he is also famously known as Sachinspiration.
As he continues to grow, he has made friendship with the Calligraphy Master of 3D calligraphy Tolga Girgin from Turkey, among many more. He admits that it has not been an easy path.
His main challenge being luck of calligraphy materials in Kenya, he is forced to ship material from abroad, which tends to be expensive.
He is also trying to convince his dad that passion can at times be turned into a source of income. Although Ernest is still pursuing BCom, he is convinced that art and design is what will allow him to achieve greater heights.